Meditation 101: Myths & Tips

Meditation is the best natural cure for a busy life and a racing mind.  Beyond that, it connects us with our bodies and helps us discover what it needs. The practice asks us to find a place to sit quietly and close our eyes for a few minutes or even up to several hours. The choice is ours and the benefits are countless: More inner peace, mental clarity and energy.

So, why do so many of us avoid it? I believe it’s because we’re buying into the myths about meditation, mainly that it has to be done a “certain way” or achieve a “certain result”.

Here are a few popular myths:

. There’s one “right way” to meditate.
Let’s face it, most of us entertain thousands of thoughts a day- many of them on repeat- so when we’re asked to turn them off, all hell breaks loose upstairs. It’s the same thing as when we try to say “no” to certain foods- then all of a sudden it is all we think about.  The desire to consume is amplified by the restriction.It’s helpful to enter into a state of meditation without expectations. If our thoughts die down naturally through breath and stillness- that is great- but if our brain continues to be flooded by thoughts while we sit in silence, that’s also okay. It is what it is. We are merely bringing the content of our minds to the forefront. We’re giving ourselves the opportunity to create more space between our thoughts.

2) We need to commit to sitting for a long time.
Some meditation teachers suggest meditating for 30 minutes or more per day. It’s wonderful if we’re able to do that, but if we’re not, committing to meditation for even just 5 minutes a day is still helpful. Consistency helps create healthy habits so we can choose a time of day that works for us (I believe the morning time is best for crafting a clear day), and set our timers for as long as we can commit to. 5 minutes. 20 minutes. 2 hours. Whatever fits for this day, this moment, this situation.

3) We need a “pro” to show us the way.
Guided meditations are very helpful for keeping us present and open to new ways of thinking and being, but we don’t need to have an experienced meditator with us to practice inner stillness or a voice in our headphones to guide us into peace. We already have all that we need within us. When we can’t make it to a meditation class or find that guided track online, we can still sit down, close our eyes and listen to our breath. One moment at a time, we can clear our minds of the stress, clutter and negativity.

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The best tip I have to share about meditation is to remember that just like yoga and any other forms of exercise, it is a practice. It’s not about having a “perfect” few minutes or creating a blank space in our minds. 

Meditation is about awakening ourselves. It’s about creating awareness around our thoughts and our body’s reaction to them. It’s about self-care, self-love and committing ourselves to a life of kindness for all beings.  
One moment, one breath, one meditation at a time, new space will be created by this powerful practice.